• Johan Strauß Denkmal im winterlichen Wiener Stadtpark.

    Winter Themes in Classical Music: Music for Long Evenings

    For the composers of the Classical era, the magic of winter, the swirling snowflakes and the stillness of the season were a source of inspiration. Especially in Austria, where winters could be quite long.

    Music in Winter: Joy and Melancholy

    •                         Schubertianer / Wien Museum
    •                         House of Music Vienna, Schubert Glasses / Haus der Musik
    • Sleigh Bells and Horse Whinnies. Leopold Mozart (1719-1787), the father of the famous musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, captured the joys of winter in his 1755 piece „Musikalischen Schlittenfahrt,“ or Musical Sleigh Ride. The sound of sleigh bells and the crack of the whip set the rhythm in this light-hearted divertimento. Occasionally, you can hear dogs bark and horses whinny. Leopold Mozart himself was a lifelong fan of the carnival season, for which he often travelled from Salzburg to Munich. 

    • The Sorrows of Winter. Romanticism focused more on the melancholy sides of winter. In Franz Schubert's (1797-1828) song cycle for voice & piano, D.911 „Winterreise“ (winter journey), a traveller journeys through the seasons, searching for love, and finally walks out into a long winter night without aim and without hope. With “Winterreise,” Schubert set to music the sad yet beautiful story of the poet Wilhelm Müller. The song cycle was first performed in 1827. 

    Johann Strauss memorial in winter season

    Johann Strauss and his Fledermaus

    Winter and the Waltz King

    Winter is also the season in which Austrians love to celebrate extensively. In Vienna alone, more than 400 balls are staged every winter. This joyful celebration was immortalized by the king of the waltz, Johann Strauss Son (1825-1899), in his famous operetta „Die Fledermaus.“

    An opulent ball hosted by the Russian Prince Orlofsky sets the stage for many mistakes and misunderstandings. The operetta is immensely popular in Austria, in part thanks to the annual performances at Vienna’s Volksoper on New Year’s Eve and at many other stages in the country. With its numerous catchy melodies, the “Fledermaus” has become a true evergreen. The lyrics are equally memorable and approach the hurdles of life - the story includes such monumental problems as infidelity and fraud - in typically Viennese fashion, that is, with gentle irony: „Happy is he who forgets what cannot be changed...“

    Check out these wintry culture stories

    •                 Penguin Snow Globe

      Mother Holle in a Snow Globe

      The snow globe, beloved throughout the world, was invented in Austria. We say hello to the family Perzy and their Snowglobemanufacture.

      The Viennese Snow Globe
    •                 Skier, Alfons Walde / Leopold Museum Vienna

      Kitzbühel and Alfons Walde, the Painter of Snow

      Kitzbühel is renowned for winter sports and spectacular downhill runs and is also associated with artist Alfons Walde, the Painter of Snow.

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    •                 Gaschurn - Skiing / Gaschurn

      Hemingway and Fleming: Finding Inspiration in the Wintry Alps

      The wintry Alps as a source of inspiration for world-class literature: Find out what the famous authors Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming experienced in Austria’s Alpine regions.

      Finding Inspiration in the Alps
    •                 Iced trees at the lakeside in Maurach

      A Raucous Christmas: Winter Traditions in Austria

      From the Krampus to Blossoming “Barbara Branches” – in Austria, many mystical traditions are still celebrated between Christmas and the New Year.

      Rauhnacht Traditions in Austria
    •                 Winter landscape on the Schöckl in Styria

      Adalbert Stifter and Peter Rosegger: Literature between Snow and Ice

      Adalbert Stifter and Peter Rosegger’s stories focus on people experiencing the beauty and the challenges of winter in the Alps.

    •                 Thomasnacht

      Winter in Fine Arts: The Colour of Snow

      The depictions of snow and ice in the masterpieces of artists such as Werner Berg, Pieter Bruegel or Egon Schiele are impressive to behold. The colours range from mystical grey and blue hues to turquoise pastels.

      Winter in the Fine Arts